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Osakis VFW seeks members

Why become a VFW member?

Osakis VFW Post 7902 Commander Mike Kral says a big reason traces back to the very beginning of the organization when a small but determined group of veterans came together to help all veterans who put their lives on the line while defending their country's freedom.

The local post is looking for new members to join and is holding a membership meeting on Monday, Jan. 15, starting at 6 p.m. Those interested in becoming a member are invited to attend.

In an effort to encourage membership, Kral provided the following information.

Early history

In 1899, Spanish American War Veterans returned home from the Cuban and Philippine battle fronts, having received their discharge pay of $15.60 per person. They should have been happy, but they couldn't be. Some were desperately ill, missing limbs, penniless, and too sick to work.

There were no governmental hospitals, no helping hands, and no such thing as financial assistance. The plain fact was that no one seemed to care what happened to them. They were truly forgotten soldiers. It was a picture of deplorable neglect.

James Romanis, from Columbus, Ohio, was a fellow veteran of the same campaigns. After witnessing the plight of his comrades, he called together 12 of his veteran friends and together they organized the American Veterans of Foreign Service. They pledged "to help one another and to work together for the benefit of our country and for those who fight for this nation."

The above information was taken from a pamphlet entitled, "The VFW Story." This pamphlet is on display at the Osakis Post 7902 Club.

Today's objective

This effort continues today through the efforts of the present day VFW. The objective is the same as it was in 1899. Veterans' benefits that exist today are the direct result of the efforts of a few beginning in 1899 and is continuing with the efforts of many. VFW and American Legion members in the thousands across the nation continue this mission on a daily basis.

Without the efforts of so many, the plight of our veterans may well be what it was over a hundred years ago.

Osakis VFW Post 7902 is currently in the midst of its annual membership drive. Maintaining our membership numbers is crucial in our effort to honor the pledge made by a few so many years ago.

The VFW at all levels is dependent upon the strength of membership numbers. A few individuals cannot possibly accomplish the necessary tasks required to maintain this pledge. The effort of all eligible members is needed. Every veteran today at some time in his or her life will receive benefits derived from the efforts of others. It is a duty and obligation for each of us to continue this effort. The least invasive method of carrying on this tradition is to become a VFW member. Simply by paying our dues, we are helping veterans.

What an individual does after becoming a member is strictly up to that individual, but the act of becoming a member is helpful to all veterans. There are many thousands of inactive VFW members but they are all helpful to the organization and its efforts.

How to join

If you are eligible to join the VFW or are approached by a membership committee person, please consider joining your local Post 7902, being a part of a great organization, and helping your fellow Veterans. Post 7902, the Department of Minnesota, the National Organization, and Veterans living all over the world need your support.

If interested in becoming a member, stop at the club for an application, contact the Osakis VFW email address at osakisvfwCassie Walsh, Jamie Edenloff, Cal Uhl, Chub Hensley and Mike Kral.

— Information provided by Mike Kral, Post 7902 Commander, 320-859-5643.

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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